The town hall meeting which was tagged “THE FUTURE OF NIGERIA: RESTRUCTURING AND SOUTHERN KADUNA took place at Unity Banquet hall Hamdala Hotel on Friday 3rd November, 2017 was filled to the brim with others standing for short of seats.
The meeting was graced by the ‘who is who’ of southern Kaduna extraction, the likes of former deputy governor H.E Amb. Nuhu Audu Bajoga (chairman), rtd Gen. Zamani Lekwot, Engr Bawa Magaji, Mr. Sule Buba, Senator Danjuma Laah (Guest of honour) was represented etc.
The keynote speaker was Hon. Timothy Gandu and the panel of discussant consist of W.B Quirix (former Vice Chancellor, Kaduna State University), Hon. Engr Usman Baba, Dr. Mrs Lydia Umar, Dr. John P. Kajit (Founder of Movement for Cognitive Justice and proponent Plurinational State) and Hon. Dr. Dogara Mato. The keynote speaker had don justice to the topic given to him. He took his listeners through the basis and the rudiments of the marginalization of Southern Kaduna people and their sufferings. He also gave statistics and date with comprehensive graphs and maps to buttress his point.
It was while he was still making his presentation that the deputy governor Arc Barnabas Bala Bantex with his entourage arrived. The hall was thrown into confusion because everyone on the high table craved to be the first to give him a handshake with the exception of the SOKAPU’s president, everyone stood up as a sign of respect for the Deputy Governor. After which the keynote speaker resumed his presentation. He said “I am not afraid to die so I will say it as it is. I even told my children not to allow themselves to be marginalized”
The deputy governor was called for his presentation. He started by reading from his written speech and stopped half way when he noticed that it won’t convey what he had in mind, he started speaking off his paper, that was when he made some gaffe thus “I am against Gurara state creation, creation of Gurara state will create enemies within.”
Talking about middle-belt from the keynote speaker’s perspective, the governor said “I don’t know about middle-belt”.
Talking about SOKAPU, he said that SOKAPU always speaks in place of the senator representing zone III. This is what he said “The senator representing zone III should be the one speaking for the people of zone III not SOKAPU. Southern Kaduna people have replaced the senator in zone III with SOKAPU”.
He further said that southern Kaduna people are doing the politics of exclusion thus “The idea of we Vs them, I don’t subscribe to that I subscribe to the idea of good Vs evil”. These statements provoked the congregation that they started booing him while some amongst them asked him to go and sit if he has nothing good to say. But before he went back to his seat he said “Southern Kaduna people are telling their children not to do business with people from the other side but I told my children to do business with everyone, they can also go to Europe”.
Rtd Gen. Zamani Lekwot said that those that say restructuring is faulty should answer the following questions:
- Why are we divided?
- Why the tribalism?
- Massive corruption?
- Unaccountability? and etc
He said “The solution to this is to fine tune the structure.
He also said that implementation of 2014 National report is the road map at our disposal, thus “State creation including Gurara State it’s not because we hate anybody, in fact our culture accommodate everybody”.
“Republic of India that operates the largest democracy in the world has a state that is larger than Nigeria. What we need is to create more state and allow them to grow to self-sustainability.
The elder statesman continued by making additional points thus; “Gurara State has a strong point of mineral and agriculture which the nation is now operating on” he also said that “middle-belt is the bridge of Nigeria”.